NaNoWriMo – Suriving and Winning National Novel Writing Month
It’s November, which means authors and scribes of all kinds have furiously begun work on on their NaNoWriMo novels. If you’re a writer, particularly one focused on fiction, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of NaNoWriMo.
For the uninitiated, National Novel Writing Month is exactly what it sounds like – a program designed to inspire and motivate creative writers to start – and complete – a novel in November. The specific goal is to start with the blank page and finish with 50,000 words, in thirty days. You can go in with an outline, a loose premise, or completely cold (if you’re a seat-of-your-pantser). But each day you attempt to meet an average quota of about 1600 words on your way towards the finish line of 50,000, which amounts to a short novel.
NaNoWriMo started as an exercise amongst a few friends in 1999, but now boasts over 400,000 participants worldwide. It’s managed by a non-profit organization of the same name, which provides infrastructure, guidelines, community events, and a feature-laden website that facilitates the program. It’s free to join at NaNoWriMo.org. Their online dashboard provides tools to track your daily word count, gain badges for achievements, and to communicate with mentors, community organizers, and other participants. At the end of November, you upload your full document to verify your final word count. Everyone who hits 50,000 words officially “wins” National Novel Writing Month.
It’s an incredibly effective system to provoke consistency in writing habits, build determination, and yield tangible results. The NaNo experience is also designed to encourage communication, expand social spheres, and build writer support groups, locally and online. The #NaNoWriMo hashtag trends throughout November, and it’s a great way to interact with other writers.
Grant Faulkner – NaNoWriMo Executive Director
We talk with Grant about what makes NaNo such an effective tool for new and established writers, and how the social aspect of the program is fundamental to its success. And we discuss how to overcome obstacles – both situational and self-imposed – to survive and win the NaNoWriMo experience.